Perspectives of African American Older Adults on Brain Health: "Brains Get Tired Too"


BACKGROUND: Statistics suggest that African Americans have a disproportionately high prevalence of Alzheimer disease (AD), yet are less likely to enroll in AD clinical trials than white individuals. Although research has previously identified various barriers to participation, relatively little is known about how to overcome these barriers and engage African American individuals in AD research. The purpose of this study is to better understand how African Americans conceptualize brain health and their ability to influence healthy brain aging.

METHODS: Three African American community advocates each facilitated a small group of African American participants over 8 to 10 sessions of a photovoice process involving discussion and sharing of images focused on brain health. Sessions were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim and photographs were uploaded.

FINDINGS: Participants recognized a diversity of what brain health can mean and indicated an interconnectedness between brain health and its influences. Key factors that were identified by group members as key to brain health included lifestyle factors, activity, and engagement and nature, resiliency, and positivity.

DISCUSSION: These emic insights into perceptions of brain health may represent important foci for targeted messaging strategies to promote brain health and research engagement within the African American population.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, v. 33, issue 4.

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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Funding Information

Supported by P30 AG028383.